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THE MORTALITY SYNDROME
The days of the Interplanetary Democracy were over.
A long and brutal war had been fought between humans, and the rest of the galactic population. Normally, humans would have been wiped out by such a war, but mankind had discovered the secret of cellular regeneration which allowed them to re-grow lost body parts, and heal serious injuries. Other species did so naturally, but the artificial way humans created was much more advanced than anything that had evolved naturally yet.
It had been so long since the beginning of the Galactic War, it had become unclear of how it actually started. Perhaps it had something to do with the cellular regeneration experiments. Maybe the process changed the mental states of the humans it had been injected into, making them more war-like then before. Whatever the cause, it had left all sides in ruins, and with the fall of Sunken Paragon, it all ended.
Usually in war, defeat means a shrunken population. With this war, humans, with their regenerative powers became even more populace. Now, on the planet of Spring Song where the human race had made it's new home, they were becoming over populated. Food was running low and small wars between communities were becoming more and more common, and since they couldn't go out into a galactic community that wouldn't take them back, Mankind had to make do with what they had.
Then, one day, it was announced that humanity would leave their planet and go out into the black void of space to find the answer to reversing the immortality they had brought upon themselves so maybe they could redeem themselves to the rest of the galactic population. And so they boarded their spaceships and left the little planet far behind. Past the Orion Spurge, through the gas clouds of Alpha Centauri, and into the Cygnus Loop, they traveled. In search of the one thing that might save them from their immortality.
On the spaceships, the government made plans on how they could help rebuilding the damage they had done during the war. “Once again, humans will hold the respected place they once did in galactic society!” they said to each other, with looks of determination on their faces. Both men and women helped with maintenance work, as well as baby sitting and child care. One human, named Galin was working on repairs to the thrusters outside the spaceship he was in. Even for virtually immortal beings, this was a deadly job. Running out of oxygen could halt the regenerative process, massive electric shocks could be fatal, and the antimatter used in the engines could wipe him out of existence, as well as half of the ship. He needed to be careful.
After about 10 minutes, he had finished one section and was moving on to the next. This job might be dangerous, but at least it was easy. Just then, he felt a needle like pain in his left arm. He looked to see a tiny burn mark in his space suit and new what had happened right away. A micro-meteor! Tiny little pieces of rock or space junk that acted like meteors, but could be microscopic. His left arm felt numb. Blue liquid started to leak out of his space suit. Blood! Without oxygen, his blood would remain blue after leaving his body, and he would suffocate. He needed to act quickly to get back to the entrance hatch. He new he had only one shot at what he was about to do. Galin unclipped the cord that attached him to the ship, aimed carefully, and released all his oxygen, propelling him towards the hatch!
“Galin! Galin C. Pot!”
“Sorry sir.” said Galin.
Galin knew he shouldn’t be reading science fiction in class, but at least the book was semi-educational, and wasn’t like those brainless sci-fi stories that dominated the market nowadays. And maybe he also liked it because he shared the main character’s first name. In truth, the world Galin lived in was not that much different from the one he had been reading about. Though there was no famine or war. Certainly not a galactic war anyhow. humans however did have the ability to regenerate from their injuries like the ones in the book. But unlike in the book, they had just evolved that way. Most humans anyway.
Galin was a mutant. He couldn’t regenerate like other people. Though he kept it such a secret that most people didn’t really know. He had always wondered if there were other people out there who had his condition, but he figured he was just trying to fool himself into believing it. When it all came down to it, Galin was alone in his situation, but none the less, he was rather popular at his high school. He thought that if others knew of his condition, he wouldn’t be as well liked, so he hid the fact, by trying not to get hurt, and not telling anyone. This was very difficult of course, but it was better than losing his friends.
Galin felt a little envious of the Galin in the book. Not only was the entire human race going to lose there immortality in the book, but also, this Galin was having an adventure while bringing it along. Basically killing two birds with one stone.
The bell rang, it was time for lunch. In the cafeteria, Galin unpacked his lunch (He hated the school lunches) and sat down at his favorite table. It was his favorite table, because it was in clear view of Ami H. Sandez. Ami was in his 9th grade like himself, top of the class, and very pretty. Just before he unpacked his juice, Mill J. Topps, Galin’s best friend, sat down next to him.
“Hey, C!” he said, starting to unpack his own lunch, “What’s up?”
“Same old, same old. What’s up with you J?” said Galin. It was customary for him and Mill to call each other by their middle names.
“Listen Home-fry,” said Mill. “L’s been caught snooping in the teachers lounge looking for the test results!”
“What!” said Galin. “That jerk! I warned him not to do it and he said ‘okay’! Why can’t he be satisfied with finding out the results like everyone else?”
“Don’t ask me dude,” said Mill “Mr. Lockerman is thinking of suspending him. But I think I speak for all of us when I say, you told him so. On the happier side of things, when are you going to talk to Ami H?”
Galin spat out some of his juice and said, “What?! Where the heck are you getting that idea! Don’t go telling everyone!”
“Like I’d ever betray you! The thought of it is inconceivable!” said Mill, pretending to be offended. “Of course it doesn’t take a genius like myself to figure it out. But just a word of warning Home-fry. I heard she not exactly like the rest of us.”
“What do you mean?” asked Galin.
“I heard a rumor that she can’t regenerate like other people,” whispered Mill. “It’s a condition or something. Not that it really matters that much, But I Just thought I’d let you know.”
On the way home from school, Galin thought to himself if he should tell Mill about his condition. After all, he said, Ami’s possible condition didn’t matter much. Wait, if Ami had the same condition, that would mean he and her had even more in common than he originally thought!
For no other reason that to observe the world around himself, Galin looked to his left. There he saw none other than Ami herself walking to the library. She was crossing the street when Galin realized that a car was coming straight towards her! Without thinking of his own safety, Galin ran into the street and pushed Ami out of the way! But before he could move to safety, the car crashed into him!
“…no way I’m gonna live through this…” he thought as he flew threw the air. “I wonder what I scored on the history test…”
But then, a tingling feeling spread throughout his body. “…this doesn’t feel like dying…” he thought to himself. “Maybe I’m… re… regener…”
“What a miracle,” said a voice, “Our records say he has mortality syndrome, but these injuries should have killed him almost instantly!”
“Right as we speak, his injuries are healing themselves…” said another voice. “That Sandez girl will be happy to see him.”
Why did he survive? How could he be regenerating? Galin didn’t know. But right now, he was happy to be alive.